Category: rearing

Variegated Fritillary, before and after The …

Variegated Fritillary, before and after

The orange spots on the chrysalis are metallic
One day apart, chrysalis May 20, butterfly May 21, 2019

caterpillar-gifs: Mystery slug caterpillar! Wh…

caterpillar-gifs:

Mystery slug caterpillar! Who is this?! Stay tuned! Updates will be incoming in my @nanonaturalist blog

Microscope shots magnified 20x
May 20, 2019

I investigated and our baby is:

a Yellow-shouldered Slug Moth (yet another stinging slug caterpillar!)

This dramatic fellow was hanging out in the yard for a while last month:

Here is a blurry shot next to my finger to show you how utterly massive these moths get:

truly spectacular

May 20, 2019

nanonaturalist: I had an “assignment” from an…

nanonaturalist:

I had an “assignment” from an entomologist at the California Department of Agriculture to rear a particular species of slug moth (Euclea incisa, not present in California so he can’t do it himself) and document variations in caterpillars from different broods. No problem! I said.

He probably didn’t expect embryonic development updates.

The eggs of this species are completely transparent and flat, so checking in was easy and SO COOL.

Anyways these babes are one of the stinging slug caterpillars, and they don’t have prolegs (?!), check out that last gif. Mom of these ones is in the last photo. They are super tiny, microscope shots are magnified 50x.

Said Californian entomologist is a Good Dude and offered to help me write up the paper without author credit on the babes. I can’t get an entomology job without an entomology degree, but I wonder how many single-author papers I can publish to substitute for one (probably none lol).

May 17, 2019

Spiny slug baby updates

The purpose of this “experiment” is to see if there are differences in how the caterpillars look between different batches of eggs, but I’m going to go insane keeping track of that here AND on iNat, so here are a bunch of unlabeled random slug babies! Microscope shots are all magnified 20x in this batch.

Arranged from youngest to oldest. They get spinier and stingier as they grow!

Jellypillar!!!!

Look! You can see them without the microscope now!!! And I am totally raising them in a parmesan container, they are too small to keep in anything else.

At their largest, they are about the size of a jelly bean. A… spiny jelly bean. Do not eat.

May 18, 2018

I had an “assignment” from an entomologist at …

I had an “assignment” from an entomologist at the California Department of Agriculture to rear a particular species of slug moth (Euclea incisa, not present in California so he can’t do it himself) and document variations in caterpillars from different broods. No problem! I said.

He probably didn’t expect embryonic development updates.

The eggs of this species are completely transparent and flat, so checking in was easy and SO COOL.

Anyways these babes are one of the stinging slug caterpillars, and they don’t have prolegs (?!), check out that last gif. Mom of these ones is in the last photo. They are super tiny, microscope shots are magnified 50x.

Said Californian entomologist is a Good Dude and offered to help me write up the paper without author credit on the babes. I can’t get an entomology job without an entomology degree, but I wonder how many single-author papers I can publish to substitute for one (probably none lol).

May 17, 2019

bowelfly: end0skeletal: Amerila astreus ti…

bowelfly:

end0skeletal:

Amerila astreus tiger moth producing acrid smelling yellow froth from cervical glands at the anterior of the thorax. This is a chemical defense against predators.

Photo by

budak

Top view:

oh yeah! i saw a different arctiid moth doing that in nicaragua years ago:

Giant Leopard Moths do this

Here is one but not doing the yellow liquid. I have a liquid photo on the camera but haven’t uploaded it yet. Anyways, last winter my yard was swarming with the caterpillars (if you remember)

So elegant in the moonlight 

Anyways last week I had three on the side of my house, so of course I had to have all three on my hand, and of course I carried them around the yard as I hunted for other bugs. But in trying to pick them up, one of them squeezed out the “no!” juice and I got some on me. No big deal, I don’t care.

Except I’m gross and I never wash my hands.

I’m also constantly rubbing my eyes.

Folks.

Wash your goddamn hands after pissing off moths and carrying them around the yard, especially if they cover your eye-rubbing finger in chemical-defense liquid, okay?

*sigh*

May 16, 2019

Someone on iNat tagged me asking for ID help o…

Someone on iNat tagged me asking for ID help on a stick insect after somebody disagreed with their ID of Megaphasma denticrus. I initially agreed, looks like a fat gravid mama to me. But the disagreer made some good arguments and I thought hmmmmm. I better double check. Looks like the disagreer is right and I’m wrong! Thanks babes 😘

I don’t think they’re expecting these. 😂

May 16, 2019

nanonaturalist: nanonaturalist: nanonaturali…

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

Went to grab some quick food for the Cecropia caterpillars, and the leaflet I randomly picked to feed them had A BABY on it! I have no idea who this is, though with the hairs, I’m guessing a tiger moth of some sort?

Caterpillar season is HERE!!! I’ve got three species going now! Plus the stick insects. Let’s see how overboard I go this year (please not too much 😭). I am NOT planting more milkweed and it appears my plants from last year did not survive (*phew!*)

I love caterpillars but they are soul-draining vampires and I am compelled to serve them beyond my will. Save me.

March 27, 2019

Molting already

They grow so fast

March 29, 2019

Again and again!

Post-molt glamour shots from March 31 (so beautiful!). But of course, baby molted AGAIN two days later!!

Hmmmmm I have no idea who this could be 😉

Tiger moth of some sort, probably Virginian.

April 2, 2019

Catch-up time!

April 4

This sweet babe 😭 Growing so fast.

Oh! What’s this?

Molting? Again?!

April 6

A racing stripe! Some accent color! I think the babe is almost identifiable!

April 9

After another molt, we have some interesting changes!

Who could this baby be?!

My baby’s face is the same!

Can’t wait to see who this is!

April 8, 2019

Watching you raise bugs takes me back to eleme…

Watching you raise bugs takes me back to elementary school when I caught a bunch of little green caterpillars and stuck them in a bowl with leaves, twigs, etc in my room. They ended up forming cocoons on the walls, and I had to shoo them out through the window when the hatched. Probably not best practice for etymology, but I was 7, and it worked out in the end. The point is you do work and it brings a smile to my face! Thanks!

Awww thanks. I did the same thing with the furry caterpillars in Washington (Isabella tiger moths and Virginian tiger moths), except I used a shoe box. Initially, I’d keep the lid on it, but over time, we would “develop trust” and the caterpillar would “stay in the box” until one day, he would disappear and I would be sad… until I’d find a cocoon on a random object in my room (like, a book). I loved their furry little cocoons. Right now, the outside of my house is covered in them, I had an outbreak of Virginian tiger moth caterpillars last fall. I think most of the moths have emerged and flown off, but I’ll probably leave the cocoons up forever.

Thanks for writing in and sharing about your moths!

April 5, 2019

Regular

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

Incoming: A “different” kind of caterpillar!

I am overjoyed and elated to announce these beautiful eggs, which I found in some elderberry leaves I was about to feed the cecropias (elderberry is popular!)

And yes, I said in the leaves. Look closer:

Here you can see each egg underneath a thin membrane of leaf tissue. What kind of insect lays its eggs inside the leaves? Lots of them, but one, in particular, has been hanging out on the elderberry plant for over a week straight, loving life and drinking elderberry nectar whenever she wants:

It wasn’t until I uploaded photos to iNat that I realized she could have been the mother, since I thought she was a wasp I didn’t recognize. I wasn’t too far off: she is a hymenopteran, like wasps, but she is a SAWFLY. My friends over on iNat have identified her as being in genus Macrophya, and three species in Texas feed on elderberry. So I was right about my hunch that the eggs were sawfly eggs, even if I didn’t realize their mom was still hanging out in my elderberry bush!

The photos above were from Saturday. On Sunday, guess what?

An eye!!!

I’ve talked about sawfly larvae before, and how they look very similar to caterpillars (they are often confused). I’ve attempted to rear them before (a different species) when I had an infestation on a vine in my yard, but I’ve never found eggs before. Exciting! I just need to make sure they don’t destroy my elderberry bush, the cecropias have dibs!

March 31/April 1, 2019

The Hatchening

Oh! Where is the baby?!

Here’s a nibble, he can’t be far. Let’s turn over the leaf. Maybe he’s hiding.

!!!!!!!!!! A baby!!!!!!

He very much wanted to be hiding, so he was very crawly when I was looking at him. See how tiny??!

He’s making a grand escape!

I went to get some fresh leaves for him, and figured I may as well bring in some of his siblings (I know his mom left a ton of eggs back there). I stopped myself at ten.

Eeeeeeeeee!!!!

April 2, 2019

It’s Raining Sawflies

So, every time I get elderberry for the cecropias, I end up finding a handful more sawfly eggs. I have at least 20 now, and they are all starting to hatch! The babies prefer to stay curled up in a little spiral under the leaves, but as soon as I pick them up for photoshoots, they uncurl and run away. The first baby is HUGE now!

April 4/5, 2019

Regular

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

Not even done hatching and already causing trouble

Who needs a groundhog when your stick insects start hatching before January is even over?! This one escaped from the enclosure with one of his feet still in his egg!

To be fair, it is sunny and warm this week. Like, Seattle people would be wearing tank tops and sweating if they were here (they all got a ton of SNOW!!), so I don’t blame the sticks for busting out. But they could have maybe waited for more of their host plants to have LEAVES maybe???

For those keeping track, this is Generation #3! I caught their grandarents as babies in my yard, back before I had any idea what I was doing. My iNaturalist profile photo is their grandma on my face!

Megaphasma denticrus stick insects, longest insect in North America!

February 4, 2019

*sigh*

That’s it I’m going to bed

February 5, 2019

**edit: I forgot to mention I have like 200 eggs SAVE ME**

Okay, no new escapees, that I know of, but I counted no fewer than 27 wiggling stick babies out and causing mischief. I added another branch from my rose bush, which involved getting stabbed with a huge honkin’ thorn. That thorn-impalement was the second time these babies have caused me injury (I sliced open my finger with a wayward x-acto blade while doing emergency egg-removal surgery on a dehydrated early-hatching baby).

At least they have *something* to eat. The weather here is confusing the trees. Last year, my plum tree was the first to awaken, growing flowers in March. But… my cypress is growing new leaves… now. It almost hit 80 degrees this week, but it’s dropping down to almost freezing tonight (everything’s bigger in Texas… yaaaayyy). So who knows when the hackberry trees will start leafing out.

February 7, 2019

A much belated update

The hackberry leaves are finally in, so feeding them is easier and less painful than giving them rose. One of the fun things about feeding them rose, however: a lot of them ended up being pink!!!

They are larger and much easier to deal with, but they are quickly outgrowing their habitat. I need to reach out to schools in the area and see if any of them want some free class pets, otherwise I’ll be releasing a bunch of them.

April 4, 2019